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 Mar 31 2021

Belgian F-16s ready for NATO Response Force

FLORENNES, Belgium - An international team from Allied Air Command’s Tactical Evaluation (TACEVAL) division conducted a final assessment at Florennes Air Base declaring the Belgian F-16 fighters ready to for NATO Response Force duties in 2021.

The Allied team visited the Belgian Air Base at Florennes on March 25, 2021 to complete the TACEVAL process that was initiated early in 2019 with preparation and evaluation exercises at the home base of Florennes airbase. The objective was to obtain the readiness certification for the entire F-16 capability of the Belgian Air Component to serve under the NATO Response Force or NRF.

Thanks to flexibility of all involved we were able to  successfully complete the evaluation with a safe modular approach
The certification schedule has been delayed by the protective measures taken against the coronavirus. Consequently, the main exercise initially planned for May 2020 was replaced by a more modular approach compatible with the health situation restrictions.

“A TACEVAL is never a picnic for an operational unit, but the same process in a pandemic situation was a bumpy road. Thanks to the flexibility of the 2nd Tactical Wing, the Belgian Air Force and AIRCOM staff we were  able  to capitalise on  the 2019

initial training and the early 2020 national evaluation to successfully complete the evaluation with a safe modular approach,” said Colonel Phlippe Goffin, Florennes Air Base Commander.

During the final exercise on March 25, the Allied Air Command TACEVAL inspectors tested the pilots’ knowledge and assessed individual responses to Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear incidents. A central element was the evaluation of the response capability of the Belgian F-16 Quick Reaction Alert (Intercept) fighters from 1st and 350th Squadrons at Florennes.

Overall, the Allied TACEVAL inspection team assessed the Belgian Air Component F-16 capability to be ready for NRF duties for the next three years.  

Allied Air Command is NATO’s single command responsible for providing air and space power to the Alliance. The headquarters located in Ramstein, Germany, oversees planning, training, coordination and execution of all Integrated Air and Missile Defence operations within the Alliance’s European area. A special division ensures national air forces’ readiness and compliance with agreed force standards. The TACEVAL programme also highlights an evaluated force’s strengths, identifies areas of concern, makes appropriate recommendations, and ensures that best practices are shared amongst Allies.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

The decontamination site at Florennes during the TACEVAL was one major aspect to confirm the Belgian F-16 detachments are capable of operating under CBRN conditions. Photo courtesy Belgian Air Force
A Belgian F-16 flying over Florennes Air Base, Belgium during the TACEVAL. The fighter aircraft are now ready for NATO Response Force for the next three years, Photo by Jozef Vanden Broeck.
A Belgian F-16 pilot undergoing decontamination at Florennes Air Base during the TACEVAL event. Photo courtesy Belgian Air Force.

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